Recently, I met a young man who was told by a social service agency that he was 100% disabled. I understand what these agencies are attempting to communicate, but all too frequently, the receiver hears, “I can’t do anything!” Here at Westminster, we believe that everyone has something to contribute to our community, no matter what their ability. In fact, if we look at ourselves honestly, we are all “disabled” in some fashion. It may be physically, mentally, emotionally – in many ways our own upbringing creates dysfunction or handicaps!
This young man expected that he would be exempt from the two hours of community service we require our families to complete for food pantry assistance. We believe that ability shouldn’t hinder a person’s service, it just makes it different. I challenged him to live beyond his disability. Lots of people live life in pain and achieve wonderful endeavors. They don’t sell themselves short… they do what they can do, to the best of their ability!
Too many times, the label of “disabled” leads to people feeling they have lost their purpose and ultimately takes away the drive to live life. We all need to know that there is a reason for living – that we have been created to do something special which allows us to put God-given gifts to use.
For this young man, I told him that his capacity to communicate could be a very valuable tool at any nursing home facility. There are lonesome people in need of someone to visit them. Perhaps he could spend his two hours of community service caring for the lonely and isolated people of Henry County! His facial expression relayed that this was not what he wanted to hear. But, perhaps with a little encouragement he could become more than a casualty of his disability label. Many families we serve, who are seeking disability benefits, are deceived into believing it will cure their problems. Our issue is not with disability, there are persons who truly need this assistance, it is with the mindset it can create – “we have no value” – we now become takers, with nothing to give… This is a lie!
At Westminster, we have the opportunity to offer encouragement and hope to those families we serve. They often see no future, only the miserable bleak experience of today with no way of escape. Together we can learn how to move beyond poverty – one step at a time! But it will take a change in our mindset. We can’t do things as we have always done. An openness to change is necessary.
Here at the Center, we need your financial support to accomplish this difficult, but meaningful task. Are you willing to sacrifice your resources for the greater good, to assist those less fortunate? Your gift of $50.00, $100.00, $200.00 or more comes to us in our greatest time of need! Please take time today to send us your gift of support so that we might continue to change the lives and mindsets of those families we serve!
Jeff Kundert, Executive Director